Moore Will Get His Sign; Is Elk Grove Devolving Into 'Animal Farm'

As an observer of Elk Grove politics for several years now, it became apparent to me during tonight's city council meeting that de...

As an observer of Elk Grove politics for several years now, it became apparent to me during tonight's city council meeting that developer Gil Moore will get his much desired off-site billboard along Highway 99 and Sheldon Road. While the council was throwing softballs to Moore, all I could think of was George Orwell.

Let me explain.

I wasn't thinking of Orwell's 1984, rather what came to mind was Animal Farm.

For those unfamiliar with this work, Orwell's spins a fable of barn animals who revolt against the humans and seize control of the farm and rename it Animal Farm. In pretty quick fashion the ideals of the revolution become compromised when the pigs placed themselves at the top of the Animal Farm heirarchy and in essence become nothing more than four legged-replacements of what all the animals originally revolted against.

If you think about it, this applies to Elk Grove. When the people of Elk Grove "revolted" against Sacramento County, some of the battle cries were that the county was unresponsive to the needs of the community and the county allowed unbridled growth. We wanted to control our own destiny.

The solution was to revolt against the county and allow us to govern ourselves. The only problem is that save the Great Recession, growth under local control continued unabated.

As we move along, the city council is really not acting that different from the board of supervisors.

On Animal Farm, the animals created seven commandments with the seventh being "all animals are equal." When we incorporated we were led to believe that all voices would be taken into consideration and they were all equal.

In retrospect, what a quaint and silly notion.

As the pigs seized more power and moved from the barn into the farmer's house, they began to separate themselves from the other working animals. They began to enjoy power and relished in the comforts they allowed themselves.

Eventually the seventh commandment came to read "all animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others."

Much the same has happened here. For us ordinary citizens it is more like "all of us have an equal voice, but those with mega-money have more of an equal voice."

In reality we really ought not be surprised by this. For one thing under our current laws, it is all perfectly legal.

And besides, it happens everywhere and on just about every level of politics. That is reality.

Reading between the lines of the council during their deliberations there were only token objections raised against Moore's desired off-site billboard. They seemed to be saying 'we will give those concerned with visual blight and the gutting of city ordinances for the benefit of developers some lip service, but don't worry Gil, we have your back.'

For his part, Moore seems like a decent enough fellow who is more than happy to trot out his wife and children in front of the city council to make the point that his is a family business. And in fairness Moore's development makes sense at that location and the planned AM/PM and McDonald's will enjoy fat profit margins, no pun intended, from local customers even without the off-site sign.

Nonetheless, when the city council grants Moore his off-site sign, and make no mistake they will, it will just reinforce the seventh commandment - "all of us have an equal voice, but those with mega-money have more of an equal voice."

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Anonymous said...

Thank you Dan.

These "animals" are cold and calculating. Every time a lone voice screams out in despair, the animals ask themselves, can this person affect my reelection? Have I received campaign contributions from this person? Does this person have ties to a larger group that might influence my reelection? If they can answer "No" to all three questions...then literally, your three minutes are up, please sit down".

Until these lone voices are joined by the others who would rather choose American Idol over local government, the animals will have free rein on the range.

Until these lone voices are joined by others who joke on this column..."it will be interesting to see what happens at tomorrow night's council meeting. So crack a beer and get a bowl of popcorn ready to watch all the posturing. And we all thought civics was boring in high school!", the animals will have free rein on the range.

Until these lone voices choose TTBO (Throw The Bums Out) over DWTS, nothing will change and the animals will have free rein on the range.

Until these lone voices band together and can seriously mobilize and threaten referendum and field candidates of their own, nothing will change and the animals will have free rein on the range.

Until these lone voices band together, democracy as we know it will be limited to three minutes per person who dares to approach the podium.

Elk may have once roamed here, but from the reeking odor today, it appears a different type of animal roams here now--ones fattened with ego, greed, self preservation, power, and money.

Picture if you will the flying pigs on Pink Floyd "Animals" album and this lyric:

"Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away;
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air.
You better watch out,
There may be dogs about
I've looked over Jordan, and I have seen
Things are not what they seem.

What do you get for pretending the danger's not real.
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
What a surprise!
A look of terminal shock in your eyes.
Now things are really what they seem.
No, this is no bad dream."

Sarah Johnson said...

Well Anonymous, you have said all for me! I feel betrayed, disappointed, disillusioned, disgusted! I don't want to believe that our community is as politically corrupt as "Any Town USA, but how can I deny it? If you have the money to "contribute", there is nothing you cannot buy, rules be damned, it is money that talks!
Quality of life? Don't even bother!

Anonymous said...

Well it is well over due for a change in council. If you got the monie then you get your way. I am not against city groth but at what price. Also we now know that our city council is in it for the money.If you pay you play.

Anonymous said...

Very good Dan. I see that Steve D. is now in the pockets of the developers, Jackson Properties, and the BIA, etc. It didn't take him long to show his true colors. The single most important thing for any politician is to get re-elected

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

First of all to Anon above, as a citizen and business owner here in Elk Grove, I regularly vote and closely watch what happens in our city. I also talk to others in my day to day interactions, so yes, I do participate.

What was interesting in last night's deliberations was Councilwoman Scherman actually spoke out against the billboard. Not sure if she is posturing for her assembly run or perhaps now that her time on the council is finite, she can take a more populist stance on things affecting our quality of life. As a long time Elk Grove resident (and the longest of all the council members) maybe she is finally seeing the cumulative effects all these pro-developer hodge-podge exceptions granted over the years.

Whatever the case, glad to see council member take a stance of sorts.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone find it interesting that during Agenda Item 10.2,
council members made disclaimers that they hadn’t taken any contributions from Matt Wood, owner of Elk Grove Ford and were appalled that anyone would think that would sway their decision.

But in the very next agenda item 10.3 when Gil Moore was before them asking for a major change in the sign ordinance, a change that a lot of residents are against, that none of the council members made that same disclaimer.

Anonymous said...

Capt. Willard, Sophia was not posturing for Assembly, nor looking out for our quality of life. In reviewing the financial disclosure statements, I see that Sophia was the only one who did not receive contributions from Gil Moore. Simple as that--follow the money. It takes money to buy a vote around here!

Anonymous said...

Well, guess what? Walmart is now working on their application for placing a sign on Hwy. 99 which includes a lighted arrow pointing the way to the new store. Anyway that's the word from the "bustling crowd" at the old store.

Anonymous said...

So the new gateway to Elk Grove greets visitors with a wayside gas station and fast food restaurant. How ingenious (not). How boring. How non-community oriented. How very Highway offramp and get back on the freeway. How stop-and-rob. How jammed down our throat like Bell South. How so not what we need. How similar to the exit prior and the exit following with 4 gas stations each. How cookie cutter. How sucky to never have a voice any longer. Let's just turn the clocks back to 1970 just like the planning commissioners are turning their clocks back to the day when we didn't care about sustainability and carbon pollution. How sad now. How spineless indeed.

Anonymous said...

If you believe in what you are saying, organize like minded citizens and run for office. If you don't like the 'status quo', protest. It is your right to carry a sign in peaceful protest. Media attention doen't cost a dime.

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